Summary: This sermon covers Abraham's experience with God when the Lord came for dinner one day.
A. One Saturday, the new preacher went out to visit in the homes of some of his new church members.
1. All went well until he came to a certain house.
2. It was obvious that someone was home, but no one came to the door even after he had knocked several times.
3. Finally, he took out his business card and wrote on the back “Revelation 3:20” and he stuck his business card in the door.
4. The next day, as he was counting the Sunday offering, he found his business card in the collection plate.
6. Revelation 3:20 reads: “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.”
7. Genesis 3:10 reads: “I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid.”
B. Drop in visitation is a thing of the past.
1. People didn’t use to think anything of stopping by someone’s house without advance notice.
2. Not anymore! Now we have to set it up on our Google calendars weeks in advance or set up a Facebook event and check if you are interested, going or ignore.
C. In today’s episode from Abraham’s journey of faith, we are going to witness a very special drop in visit.
1. Can you guess who’s coming to dinner? If you guessed the Lord, you guess correctly!
2. Let’s come along side Abraham and Sarah as they experience this visit from the Lord, and let’s consider the lessons both they and we can learn from the visit.
I. The Story
A. Genesis 18 begins with these words: 1 The LORD appeared to Abraham near the great trees of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. 2 Abraham looked up and saw three men standing nearby. (Gen. 18:1-2a)
1. The chapter opens at the great trees of Mamre, a place where Abraham has often been in his years in Canaan.
a. Previously, he had built an altar there and it was the place he was when he received word that Lot had been taken prisoner by the kings from the east.
2. We can determine that the timing of this visit is only days, or weeks at the most, after the events of the last chapter because of the prediction of Sarah’s soon-to-be pregnancy, both in this chapter and the last.
3. The narrator clearly tells us that it was the Lord who appeared to Abraham on that occasion, accompanied by two angels.
a. Those angels will be the ones who go into Sodom to warn Lot of the coming destruction.
b. But as we will see, Abraham does not immediately know that the visitors that day are from above.
4. While Abraham sat in the shade at the entrance of his tent in the heat of the day, suddenly three men approached.
a. The three men seemed to appear out of nowhere, which as it turns out, they had.
b. Perhaps Abraham had thought he had dosed for a minute and didn’t see their approach.
c. What Abraham saw was three human travelers, and assumed that they were weary and thirsty as they must have come from the desert.
B. The story continues: When he saw them, he hurried from the entrance of his tent to meet them and bowed low to the ground. 3 He said, “If I have found favor in your eyes, my lord, do not pass your servant by. 4 Let a little water be brought, and then you may all wash your feet and rest under this tree. 5 Let me get you something to eat, so you can be refreshed and then go on your way-now that you have come to your servant.” “Very well,” they answered, “do as you say.” (Gen. 18:2b-5)
1. Abraham responded by immediately running out to greet them with a bow.
a. Bowing was, and still is, the ancient equivalent of a handshake.
b. The phrase “my lord” was a greeting of common courtesy, in the same way we would call someone “sir.”
c. It was not a recognition that one of these three men was in fact the Lord Yahweh.
2. Abraham then extended hospitality to the men by offering a place to rest, and the refreshment of washing and nourishment.
a. People of the ancient Near East extended hospitality to strangers as both a sacred duty and a personal honor.
b. Abraham said, in so many words, “Please do me the honor of letting me make you comfortable.”
3. And when the visitors accepted the invitation, Abraham and Sarah immediately went to work.